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Judge denies Dr. Bernard's motion to block Rokita from accessing patient records

Rokita's filing with Medical Licensing Board on Wednesday hands jurisdiction to board
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Posted at 6:45 PM, Dec 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-02 18:45:49-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Dr. Caitlin Bernard’s motion to block Attorney General Todd Rokita from accessing patient medical records has been denied by the court, stating it is now in the hands of the state's Medical Licensing Board.

In early November, the attorney representing Bernard filed a motion for preliminary injunction asking the court to block Rokita from accessing her patient’s medical records.

Attorney General Todd Rokita’s office launched an investigation after Bernard spoke out about performing an abortion procedure on a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio.

Rokita’s office claims it started the investigation to determine if Bernard violated privacy laws when speaking to the media.

The injunction claimed that Bernard and the other plaintiffs "are being cause irreparable harm for which there is no adequate remedy at law" and "the public interest would be served by the grant of a preliminary injunction."

On Friday, the judge overseeing denied the motion was unnecessary as Rokita filed an Administrative Action with the state’s Medical Licensing Board on Wednesday. The order will now move under the jurisdiction of the Medical Licensing Board.

The judge, Heather Welch, claimed that Rokita violated Indiana law in terms of confidentiality obligations in the order as well.

“The public statements made by the Attorney General prior to the referral of the matter to the Medical Licensing Board, therefore, are clearly unlawful breaches of the licensing investigations statute’s requirement that employees of the Attorney General’s Office maintain confidentiality over pending investigations until they are so referred to prosecution.”

The judge also states in the order, “The Court finds that Dr. Bernard’s concerns about reputational and professional harm as a result of the Attorney General’s comments do constitute irreparable harm for the purposes of this preliminary injunction motion.”

Following the order, Attorney General Todd Rokita’s office issued the following statement.

“This is a win for patient privacy rights in the practice of medicine and for properly reporting child abuse. This case is not really about abortion, despite the best efforts of those with an agenda to make it appear that way.

This has always been about two things:

First, it is a doctor’s duty to keep patients’ information private, unless specifically authorized.

Second, a healthcare provider must protect a child from being further abused by properly reporting the situation immediately to Indiana authorities as required by our laws.

But for the doctor’s violation of her patient’s privacy by going to the news media, this story would have never been publicized.

The doctor and her attorneys initiated this media frenzy from the beginning, and it continues to draw attention to this innocent little girl who is trying to cope with a horrific trauma.

The Office of the Attorney General will continue to fight for patients’ rights and safety in this and other situations."
AG Todd Rokita's Office